Recently I wrote about how to break up with your supermarket and it really got me thinking. I like to say that I avoid shopping at the supermarket as much as possible, but is that really true? “As much as possible” is pretty vague. A better way to put it would be “as much as is convenient.”
I went through my pantry and realized, darn it, that we still purchase about 25% of our food at the supermarket. Another 25% or so comes from bulk vendors. The rest is stuff we grow or buy from local farmers. So really, as humbling as it is to say this, that can hardly be considered “as much as possible.”
The issue with the stuff sold at the grocery stores is that most of it isn’t even actually food. It’s a hoax, perpetrated on people who go in expecting to nourish themselves.
Traditionally…and by traditionally I mean ever since there were humans on the planet eating stuff…food came from one of these sources: plants or animals. It has been hunted, gathered, foraged, cultivated, and farmed.
But now these substances are being created in a lab environment. From purely synthetic ingredients, compounds are formed. Sometimes a bit of the original food is present, perhaps a small bit of meat or vegetable or grain, and that item is stretched with chemicals to turn it into a food-like substance. The substance is shaped to look like food. It is artificially colored and molded into forms like some kind of semi-edible play-dough. Then scents and flavors, also artificial, are added. This makes the substances resemble food even more because now it tastes and smells like food.
Because it isn’t immediately lethal to ingest, those noble guardians at the FDA slap a label on it that the substance is GRAS – Generally Recognized As Safe.
Then the substance is placed into little plastic trays, foil, bags, or cellophane. That is placed inside a box with an illustration on the outside. The illustration looks like the food that the substance inside all of the packaging is supposed to taste like. Perhaps it is a juicy roast beef dinner with mashed potatoes, savory gravy, and carrots. Your brain processes this visual stimuli and expects that the substance contained within is indeed “food.”
But it isn’t.
It’s a scam. People go to the store to buy food, but they are sold something else, something that only pretends to be food. (source)
A friend of mine said recently that the struggle for survival has already begun. Our food is poisoned, our water is poisoned…the very air we breathe is tainted. And she’s right.
As a person involved in the preparedness community, I’ve come to realize, there is only so much that we can actually “prep” for. I was discussing this with my good friend Tess Pennington of Ready Nutrition, and she put it perfectly. “It’s time to stop prepping for it and start living it.”
So what does it mean to “live it”?
It certainly means that more than 50% of our food should come from local sources, preferably our own backyards. It means that you don’t run to the grocery store 3 times a week for “one more ingredient.” It means that when peas are in season, you live and breathe for peas. You figure out how to work them into breakfast. You dry them, you can them, you freeze them, and you eat them until you really never want to see another little green orb rolling around on your plate. It means that if you don’t have it, you make it, and if you can’t make it, you wait a while before you buy it. It means a life of difficult simplicity, without all of the commercial hullabaloo. It means you might eat meat that you hadn’t really previously considered because it’s what is available.
The final argument for my upcoming decision came this morning. This basket of food I got today from the farm down the road cost me $10. Add to this some eggs, some meat, and some raw milk, and how could you possibly yearn for anything more?
I just don’t want to play anymore. I don’t want to support an industry that is slowly poisoning the country. I don’t want to read ingredients and try to avoid GMOs like they’re closely spaced landmines. I want to commit full-on Nutritional Anarchy with every bite of food we eat – no more of this halfway stuff. It’s go time. It’s time for a Grocery Store Rebellion.
We have broken up with the grocery store as of August 1.
We’re staging a coup and taking control of our food supply. We are going to sow some revolution in our own backyard.
That’s right. No more grocery stores. We are turning our little quarter of an acre into a small-town homestead. If I can’t grow it, we’ll get it from the local community of farmers in my vicinity. I belong to a group that barters homegrown goodies. From our friends there, we get raw milk, meat, and items that I simply don’t have room to grow on a in-town property.
My goal is to not set foot in a grocery store…AT ALL…between August 1 and November 1. Three months of eating what we can grow or procure locally, or what we have on hand.
So here are the rules I’ve established for our family:
1.) The first option is always to grow it myself. We can grow pretty much year round here with the aid of greenhouses and coldframes.
2.) If I can’t grow it, I’ll buy it from a farm. And by that, I don’t mean a farm that sells to the store where I then purchase my semi-local goods. I mean, I’ll go to the farm and pick it up.
3.) I’ll can, dehydrate, freeze, and preserve as much food as possible.
4.) Meat will be purchased locally or not at all.
5. ) We can intermittently use our stockpile of baking supplies, rice, etc. If it needs to be replenished, it will be mail-ordered so I’m not tempted by the grocery store bounty.
6.) We can go out to eat once a week. (I had to make this deal with my kids to get them on board)
7.) Coffee is non-negotiable. Don’t make me hurt you.
Please don’t think that this is something you can only do if you have a magical green thumb and can grow tomatoes out of a rock. I am not a pro. Everything I stick into the ground does NOT flourish. Heck, I’ve managed to kill an aloe vera plant and they are notoriously hardy. I’ve gardened before but I haven’t actually farmed. I fervently hope that my chickens-to-be are hardy enough to survive my inevitable mistakes and grace me with eggs. I’ll try really hard not to scorch any plants in my greenhouse. I’m inexperienced but that’s never stopped me before. I can’t wait to get dirty, mess stuff up, and then figure out how to fix it.
Some readers can be a bit judgmental, which is, of course, their right. We don’t censor comments here, so knock yourself out. There was some criticism previously when I wrote about the newbie errors I made when we lived in our Northwoods cabin for a year. And it’s true – I made mistakes that would be deadly in a post-SHTF world. I’d much rather make them now, when there is some back-up as close as the nearest grocery store, or heat at a neighbor’s house, than in the future when the repercussions of those mistakes would be a lot more drastic.
I have other reasons for sharing the downs as well as the ups. It isn’t to be discouraging and make you think it’s too hard to do yourself – in fact, it’s just the opposite. I used to read homesteading blogs, then go out and try the things I’d read about. Then, to my dismay, my efforts came out nothing like the pro efforts of the superhuman blogger whose ideas I’d been trying to emulate. With a few exceptions, the farms, gardens and homesteads out there in bloggerland were like supernatural Edens, and I always felt like a complete failure.
I don’t want you to feel like a failure. I want you to realize that the reality is, the only people that effortlessly do this stuff are those who were born to it. They grew up living that life, and it comes as naturally to them as going to Starbucks and ordering a venti nonfat caramel mocha Frappuccino with no whip comes to a city dweller. So, I’ve accepted the fact that plants may wilt, chickens may not fare so happily, and I have only the vaguest idea how to clean a recently caught fish. But I will give it my best shot, and another, and then another until I master the lifestyle I desire. And for your entertainment, and possibly to help you avoid the same mistakes, I’ll share the experience with you.
Here’s how you can join in the Grocery Store Rebellion
First of all, I can’t wait for you to chime in with your own experiences and knowledge because this could be a great way for us to all interact. Many of you are already living this lifestyle to a great extent and I welcome your advice!
Second, who’s in? I would love to see a mass exodus from the grocery store. I realize not everyone has a nearby network of farmers, but now is a great time to start making the acquaintance of the ones who are in close proximity and figuring out what local resources are actually available to you. Check out Eat Local Grown to find farms and markets near you. I was surprised to discover some great resources that I had yet to find.
The main thing is – dump the grocery stores! Find ways to get your food that are closer to the ways that your ancestors did it. Everyone can establish their own rules based on criteria like what is available to them, what they can grow, what the local laws are, and how much work they’re will to do. Oh – and how much their families will tolerate. The idea is not to make it so difficult that only a few can do it – it is to make it so easy that anyone, anywhere can do it. Figure out how to do this in your location and share it here – your ideas may very well help other people who want to rebel.
Let’s exit the food system that we’ve been taught to believe was necessary for our survival. Let’s refuse to enrich a system that is killing us. It’s time to sow some revolution and start a Grocery Store Rebellion.
Here are some great books for those who don’t have an actual farm.